I undertake sociological research about climate change and the relationship between religion and sustainable development. Currently, I supervise two research projects: "Are Religions Becoming Green?" and "Ecovillages as Incubators for Sustainability Transitions" (both financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation). I am particularly interested in how different types of actors (e.g., grassroots initiatives, businesses, political parties) contribute to (or block) transformation processes to render societies more sustainable and negotiate these change processes. My research places a specific focus on religious activities in these societal transitions. Here, I study how religious communities relate to environmental challenges and in what way they innovate themselves and their relationships to society in response to these challenges.
- Religion and Politics in Global Perspective (RESA3101)
- Religion and Ecology (TFF3390)
I have studied sociology, philosophy and evangelical theology (Mag.), social sciences (Dipl.) and economics (Dipl.) at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, University of Salamanca and the University of Buenos Aires. In 2013, I received my PhD in sociology from the University of Bielefeld and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) for a study on the religious tastes and styles of middle-class Pentecostals in Argentina. Towards the end of my PhD, I started to work in the area of sociology of innovation and participated in a collaborative research project on local energy transition processes in Germany and France.
From 2013 onwards, I worked as an assistant professor for religion and economics at the Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics (ZRWP) at the University of Basel. Moreover, I was an honorary research associate of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford from 2016 until 2018 and a visiting professor for sociology at the University of Münster in the winter term 2017/18 and at the University of Leipzig in the winter term 2019/20.
Current Research Projects
- Are Religions becoming Green? Faith-Based Environmentalism in Switzerland, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation
- Ecovillages as Incubators for Sustainability Transitions: What Boundary-Bridging Arrangements Facilitate the Diffusion of Innovations in Different Settings?, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation
- Koehrsen, Jens (2021) “Muslims and Climate Change: How Islam, Muslim Organizations, and Religious Leader Influence Climate Change Perceptions and Mitigation Activities”, in: WIREs Climate Change 12 (3), p.1-19
- Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Exogenous shocks, social skill, and power: Urban energy transitions as social fields“, in: Energy Policy 117, p. 307–315;
- Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Religious Agency in Sustainability Transitions: Between Experimentation, Upscaling, and Regime Support“, in: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 27, p. 4–15.
- Koehrsen, Jens (2017) “Boundary Bridging Arrangements: A Boundary Work Approach to Local Energy Transitions.”, in: Sustainability 9 (424).
- Koehrsen, Jens (2016) Middle Class Pentecostalism in Argentina: Inappropriate Spirits. Leiden/Boston: Brill.
- Koehrsen, Jens (2015) “Does Religion Promote Environmental Sustainability? – Exploring the Role of Religion in Local Energy Transitions”, in: Social Compass 62 (3), p. 296-310